Premier John Horgan has called a snap election for Oct. 24. (File photo)

Mitchell’s Musings: Rolling the dice for all the marbles

Columnist Glenn Mitchell looks at the snap election called Monday, Sept. 21

The signs were all there – the media speculation, the announcements of several NDP cabinet ministers saying they weren’t going to run again (even though the pre-determined election date isn’t until next October) and the newly crowned provincial Green leader pleading, demanding that Premier John Horgan should put the province ahead of the party and not call a snap election.

But, alas, Horgan did it anyway.

Horgan says we’re going to the polls Oct. 24 to provide stability, even though there’s been little instability with the coalition agreement between the Greens and the NDP that was signed to carry us until next year’s election and Green Party leader Sonia Furstentau pledging ongoing support.

He also said we are going to the polls during a pandemic because we would still be going to the polls during a pandemic next October anyway, according to most health officials’ predictions.

Of course, the more honest answer is Horgan is riding high in the polls thanks to the province’s response to the pandemic so far, and he can thank provincial health officer and media darling, Dr. Bonnie Henry, and to a lesser extent Health Minister Adrian Dix, for that more than himself.

Still, he didn’t get in the way of Henry’s compassionate, honest messaging, so he’s one up on Trump on that one, and he did add his own version of stability to the situation.

However, the numbers have taken a turn for the worse lately and B.C. leads the country in per-capita cases. Who knows where that number will be, oh, say next Oct. 16 or so.

So, Horgan is rolling the dice on now, when the polls are in his favour and the public goodwill over the pandemic leadership is still a thing, as opposed to later, when he has no choice but to have an election in 2021, when things could be a lot worse on both accounts.

So, it only makes sense, politically, especially when you have a rookie leader of a party you’re hoping to wipe off the map on Vancouver Island, and a fairly uninspiring Liberal leader, Andrew Wilkinson, who most people couldn’t pick out of a police lineup headlined: “OK, which one is your boring Uncle Andrew?”

However, it has to be acknowledged this is purely political, cynical and opportunistic. The only reason to rip up the agreement with the Greens and to scrap the fixed election date is for the good of the NDP

Although he said he “struggled mightily” with the decision to call an election during an accelerating pandemic and a state of emergency, that’s poppycock, or BS, depending on your sense of decorum.

“I believe the best way forward is to put the politics behind us,” Horgan said Monday. Launching an unnecessary political campaign in the middle of a pandemic is putting politics behind us? Somehow I think politics might rear its head prior to voting day, as the pandemic likely worsens under much less provincial leadership.

He also said waiting for next year to have an election is “time well wasted,” while I would say just the opposite about politicians pandering to voters over the next month instead of what appeared to be a steady hand at the wheel.

Of course, Horgan technically has the right to take this high-risk, high-reward attempt to gain a majority government – hey, it worked in New Brunswick.

However, he’s gambling at our expense, politically, financially and possibly medically, in having an election during a pandemic when the electorate craves transparency and leadership, not empty promises and name-calling that likely leads us nowhere.

Wilkinson calls it “politics over people” and Furstentau says it’s “irresponsible” and “out of touch.” Yup, yup and yup.

But that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t do it under similar circumstances, ahem.

A cynic might say so now instead of spending money we don’t have to get out of a pandemic, which is at least somewhat noble, we’ll be spending money and promising even more just to get elected, which is somewhat less noble.

If karma counts for something the new, quite engaging Green leader will take a few key seats off the NDP on the Island, and Wilkinson will outperform his pre-election self just enough to give the Liberals a small majority and Horgan will have the “stability” he craves, except he’ll be opposition leader instead of premier.

Maybe. Maybe not. But that’s the chance you take when you roll the dice.

Glenn Mitchell is a columnist and former editor of the Vernon Morning Star.

Opinion

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

To cast a ballot in Trail today, Saturday Oct. 24, General Voting Day, voting stations are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Trail Memorial Centre and the Trail Legion. Photo: Black Press
It’s Election Day in B.C.: Here’s what you need to know to vote

Your final chance to cast a ballot in the B.C. 2020 snap election is today.

The entrance to vote at the Trail Legion is through the side door. Photo: Sheri Regnier
Where to vote in Trail on Saturday

Saturday, Oct. 24 is your last chance to cast a ballot in this BC Election

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

A Kelowna clinic decided to immunize their patients in a drive-thru flu clinic earlier this month. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Interior Health anticipates increase in flu vaccinations this season

Some 300,000 doses of flu vaccine ready for distribution across Southern Interior

Fruitvale Village Council outlined their Beaver Valley Middle School development plan to the community last month. Photo: Jim Bailey
Fruitvale to lease middle school land to affordable housing society

Village agrees to 60-year lease to get phase 1 of B.V. middle school development project rolling

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson, BC Greens Sonia Furstenau, BC NDP John Horgan (The Canadian Press photos)
British Columbians vote in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

At dissolution, the NDP and Liberals were tied with 41 seats in the legislature, while the Greens held two seats

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Most Read